Ah, the holiday season. I love, love, LOVE the fall and winter holidays. 🙂 One of the things hubby and I both love about the holidays is EGGNOG! ‘Round about Thanksgiving, give or take a week, hubby starts getting a craving for eggnog.
Back in the day, egg nog was was made with whipped egg whites. I grew up with my mom making a delicious homemade, cooked eggnog that was D-I-V-I-N-E when hot…and it bypassed any food safety concerns with consuming raw eggs. Eggnog made this way is essentially a thin pudding — you make a pudding, tempering the egg, but you add in more milk and/or cream, making it beverage thin.
As Wikipedia tells us:
Eggnog, or egg nog, is a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, beaten eggs (which gives it a frothy texture), and liquor. Brandy, rum, or whisky are sometimes added; and the finished serving would be garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
Eggnog is a popular drink throughout the United States and Canada, and is usually associated with winter celebrations such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year. Commercial non-alcoholic eggnog is typically available only in the winter season. Eggnog may be added as a flavouring to food or drinks such as coffee and tea. Eggnog as a custard can also be used as an ice cream base.
The origins, etymology, and the ingredients used to make the original eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog may have originated in East Anglia, England; or it may have simply developed from posset, amedieval European beverage made with hot milk. The “nog” part of its name may stem from the word “noggin”, a Middle English term used to describe a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol. However, the British drink was also called an Egg Flip (from the practice of “flipping” (rapidly pouring) the mixture between two pitchers to mix it).
In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy; dairy products and eggs were rarely consumed by the lower classes due to their high cost and the lack of refrigeration. Those who could get milk and eggs mixed it with brandy, Madeira or sherry to make a drink similar to modern alcoholic egg nog.
The drink crossed the Atlantic to the English colonies during the 18th century. Since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Triangular Trade with the Caribbean was a cost-effective substitute. The inexpensive liquor, coupled with plentiful farm and dairy products, helped the drink become very popular in America.When the supply of rum to the newly-founded United States was reduced as a consequence of the American Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey, and eventually bourbon in particular, as a substitute.
Some recipes for homemade eggnog call for egg yolks to be cooked with milk into a custard to avoid potential hazards from raw eggs; eggnog has much in common with classic custard-pudding recipes that do not call for corn starch, and many eggnogs can also be cooked into egg-custard puddings.
Now, I’ve made puddings, and I’ve made custards. I can even make a yummy sugar-free pudding from scratch. This means that I should be able to make homemade sugar-free eggnog…but I can’t. The few times I’ve tried, it has not turned out well at all. 😦
And while one can often find reduced-fat commercially made eggnogs, I’ve not yet found a reduced-fat sugar-free eggnog. 😦
So I was quite intrigued when I came across this simple, easy recipe for eggnog on the Kraft food website. I tried it, and while it was easy, and rather tasty, it didn’t have that rich, thick eggnog taste and feel…so I tweaked it just a bit, and hubby and I both thoroughly enjoy it!
I like mine spiked with a splash of rum; I prefer the spiciness of dark rum, but others prefer the light rum. Some folks prefer a spirit other than rum. Hubby likes his non-alcoholic. Either way, it is tasty and festive — especially when served in festive glassware!
Whether you like your eggnog spiked or not, it’ll put you in a holiday mood! (Go on, take 136 seconds out of your life and watch this video — it’ll bring a smile to your face and you’ll be so glad you did!)
Easy Holiday Nog (Makes eight 1-cup servings)
- 1 package (4-serving size) INSTANT sugar-free vanilla pudding OR French vanilla pudding (French vanilla pudding gives a richer flavor)
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces, or 1 can) skim or 2% EVAPORATED milk
- 6 1/2 cups skim or 1% milk (I prefer 1% milk)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla (I like Adams Best vanilla)
- Ground nutmeg or cinnamon (sprinkle on each individual serving)
- Pour 2 cups of milk into a 2-quart pitcher. With a whisk, spatula, or spoon, stir in instant sugar-free pudding mix until smooth (about 2 minutes). Let sit and thicken for a few minutes, if desired.
- Thoroughly shake can of evaporated milk and stir into pitcher.
- Stir in remaining milk to make 2 quarts.
- Stir in vanilla.
- Keep refrigerated.
- Stir before serving. Sprinkle each serving with a dusting of ground nutmeg (my preference) or cinnamon.
- NOTE: If you want yours alcoholic, pour in desired amount of alcoholic spirit, then pour in eggnog.